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A LOVER OF THE OLD PATHS.
consoles them in affliction; he sang- contrast the sentiments of suchą tifies them by his Holy Spirit; he master in Israel as Dr. Doddridge, “ guides them with his counsel
with the crude and indigested through life; and at length “ re- theories which are at present un , ceives them to glory."
settling the minds of some truly, Such is the character, and such pious but ill-judging persons, , and is the privilege, of the true Chris- distressing others who have not attian. if then we desire the favour tained to that settled confidence of God, if we wish to be safe and which they are led to view as nehappy here and hereafter, let it be cessary to salvation. our endeavour to increase in love to him. Thus shall we have the most convincing, yet the most simple, “ Much religious dejection has evidence of our being his true ser- arisen for want of rightly distinvants. Knowledge alone is not guishing between the first principles religion ; but love, the offspring of of the divine life and the highest genuine faith, and the companion of improvement of it. every good word and work, in pro- * It is true, indeed, that the most portion as its holy influence is ex- eminent attainment is desirable ; hibited in our lives, will stamp our but the growth of grace, like that character as the children of God. of nature, is gradual. There may
be a principle of true religion in the heart, and yet it may be far short
of maturity; as there is a vast difTothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.
ference between a new-born infant
and the vigour of the full-grown Much discussion having of late man. From the moment a man casts taken place respecting what is himself at the feet of Christ with called the doctrine of assurance, I a sincere and prevailing desire to am anxious to lay before your be saved by him in bis own way; readers the following remarks on that is, in the way of holiness; he is, the subject, from the pen of a according to the tenour of the word divine, whose personal piety, criti- of God, intitled to the promise of cal ability, and truly Christian and mercy: but it may not be till after judicious tone of sentiment entitle a course of many years that he shall him to the highest respect as an ex- have obtained that full mastery of positor of Scripture. "It might be his appetites and passions, that firm too trite to insert extracts on the trust and confidence in God, that subject from the already justly deep resignation to his will, that popular works of Dr. Doddridge; active zeal for his glory, that genebut it is not generally known that rous disregard to his own interest four volumes of interesting sermons where that of God and his fellowfrom his pen have been recently creatures is concerned, which may, given to the world, after having after all, crown the work; and slept in manuscript since the death especially that full assurance of the of their venerated author. (For an Divine love. I mention this the raaccount of his work, and the tran- ther, becauseI know that many injudiscript of a sermon from it, see cious teachers have made assurance Christ. Observ. for January 1827.) of the very essence of faith, meanIn one of these discourses occur ing by assurance, not a full persuathe following sound and scriptural sion of the power and grace of statements on the subject of as- Christ in general, but a certainty surance; which, as the work is hither- that they themselves should be saved to little known, it may be well to by him; a great and grievous error, extract for the public benefit. It is
which cannot be so much as recontruly consolatory and edifying to ciled with the principles of common sense, without overthrowing those as false as the Gospel is true. I of Scripture. For, on what can this say this, because I fear the doctrine assurance be founded? On a per- that I oppose is one of the monsters sonal revelation? Can it be ima- which the present age has produced. gined, that every believer has an But if we are to judge by facts, as immediate revelation from God, well as by reason and Scripture, it even previous to his being a be- is very certain that some doubts liever, that he is intended for eternal may consist with true faith. It is glory? And this testimony of the certain that a man who fears the Spirit of God to an unbeliever is Lord, and obeys the voice of his most unscriptural ; if not, it must servant, may walk in darkness, and go upon the suppostion of a univer. see no light ; and it is as certain sal salvation;—and if even that were that many begin where they ought allowed, yet no man could be sure to end. There is a great deal of he should escape damnation, if there reason to believe, that they oftea be such a thing, for the time that take the warmth of their own affecpunishment shall endure. So that, tions and imagination for the testiin short, the only thing that can lay mony of the Spirit of God; and a foundation for such a universal setting out with a premature asassurance of immediate happiness surance, they end in apostacy: through Christ, if it does not arise whereas we see many humble souls, from the consciousness of being that go on for a long time under a formed by grace to a meetness for heavy burthen, and yet walk much glory, must be a hope which the more steadily and honourably, and devils themselves may have, and end their days with more comfort which overthrows the very first prin- to themselves, and more reputation ciples of Christianity, and must be to a Christian profession."
Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.
Having often heard Pharaoh
censured for enslaving the Hebrews The following paper, though drawn-having often heard the expresup by an American gentleman, for sions, " Egyptian slavery,” “ Egypthe instruction of his own country- tian bondage,” “ Egyptian oppresmen, appears to me so applicable sion,” as well as “ Egyptian darkto the arguments of some among ness,"—it came into my mind a few ourselves, that I transmit a copy of days since, to examine what kind of it for insertion in your pages. The bondage the Hebrews were held in, writer, of course, did not mean, and what excuses Pharaoh could as he twice observes, seriously to have made to himself for such a apologize for Pharaoh ; his shrewd course towards that people. The irony being intended not to excal- result of my inquiry was rather surpate that tyrannical monarch, but prising to myself; and led me to to shew the proportionably greater make some remarks on the case, criminality of those who, possessing under the above title. an infinitely higher code of faith
Let me not, however, be misand morals, act like him, and with understood. I do not mean to justifar less plausible semblances of ar- fy the conduct of Pharaoh towards gument for their proceedings. Israel. My apology is not absolute,
'AN ENGLISHMAN. but comparative. I only object to the practice of representing the 5. They lived well, by their own slavery of Israel as the hardest ever confession ;-so much so, that they endured; and of Pharaoh as the afterwards lamented the loss of their most unjustifiable of all slave- good living; and had almost returned holders. It is not correct. And to slavery for the sake of it. (Exod. the people of every country where xvi. 3 ; Num. xi. 4-6.) slavery is tolerated, and especially 6. They were made to labour ; slave-holders, would do well to but their great increase is against borrow their proverbs respecting the notion that their labour was so slavery and oppression, from a dif- very oppressive as some suppose. ferent quarter than ancient Egypt. (Exod. i. 9–14.) Experience proves If I am not mistaken, these two that oppressive labour, especially on facts can be fully made out, from the part of females, operates against the Hebrew account of their bond- a great increase. But the increase age ;—first, that it was not as hard of the Hebrews, while in Egypt, I as several kinds of modern slavery; think, unparalleled. and secondly, that Pharaoh not 7. It does not appear that they only had more plausible, but better, were shut out from any of the comreasons for his course, than many mon modes of improvement and modern slave-holders have. In proof education. The various works perof the first, I adduce the following formed--as spinning, weaving, and facts:
embroidery; working in wood and 1. The Hebrews were allowed to iron; in gold, silver, and brass; even live separate to themselves, and retain to thecutting and setting of diamonds, their own manners, customs, and re- with many other things connected ligion. (Exod. ix. 26.) They formed with the erecting of the tabernacle a community by themselves. Their prove a very considerable knowslavery was rather political than per- ledge of the ornamental, as well as sonal. They were held as public, not useful, arts. (Exod. xxxv-xxxix.; as private, property. The labour ex- Num. vii.) The direction to write acted from them was for the bene- parts of their law upon their doorfit of the state, rather than of indi- posts and on their gates (Deut. viduals. (Exod. i. 9–14.)
xi. 18-20), seems to imply that 2. They were not bought and the great mass of the people, if sold, transferred from hand to hand, not all, could read and write. The and removed from place to place, notice of writing the names of as caprice or profit might dictate. officers (Num. xi. 26), of writing They formed family connexions as the law on pillars (Deut. xxvii. 3), they pleased, which were not broken of writing a copy of the law upon in upon. The education and ma- stones (Joshua viii. 32), of the king's nagement of their own children writing out a copy of the law for were left to themselves; and all the his own use (Deut. xvii. 18), agree endearments of the domestic circle with the opinion that reading and were untouched ; the temporary at- writing were common among the tempt to destroy their male children people. excepted, which we will notice pre- 8. The attempt to destroy their sently.
male children was the darkest fea3. They remained where they ture in the case. We shall have were first settled, in the best part occasion to refer to this again, in of the land of Egypt. (Gen. xlvii. noticing Pharaoh's excuses and rea4-11; Exod. ix. 26.)
In this place I must notice, 4. They not only were allowed that the whole facts of the case to retain the property which they favour the opinion that the number brought into Egypt, but greatly in- destroyed must have been very small. creased it during their stay. (Gen. The first attempt to effect it totally xv. 14; Exod. xii. 38.)
failed. The attempt to drown them,
Y appears to have lasted but a short 10, 11); while the Egyptians, who time. It was not, we may infer, in raised the grain laid up in store operation at the birth of Aaron; as (Gen. xli. 34, 35), had to sell their nothing is said about a difficulty Rocks, herds, and even themselves, in saving him. Moses was but for food for their families. (Gen. three years younger. (Exod. vii. 7.) xlvii. 15—24.) While the obligation It was in force at his birth. (Exod. of Pharaoh to Joseph for his foreii, 2, 3.) At three months old he sight and ability is fully admitted, was cast out, but was immediately it is thought that some bounds rescued and adopted by the daughter ought to be set to the returns of Pharaoh. No other case is par- made to him, and especially to his ticularly mentioned. From Acts whole kindred. His being made vii. 20, it seems probable some prime minister, the cordial wel. others were cast out. In all pro- come given to his family in their bability, the same sympathy which distress,—giving them as a resiJed Pharaoh's daughter to save and dence the best district in Egypt adopt Moses, led her to prevail on (Gen. xlvii. 11),--supporting them her father, to abandon the cruel from the public stores for about six practice. We can indeed hardly years (what they carried to Canaan conceive of her indulging the full cost them nothing, as Joseph retide of female and maternal kind- turned their money, Gen. xlii. 25, ness for the infant Moses, and not xliv. 1),--and their prospect of a make an effort to save others from free trade with Egypt, with Joseph the watery grave from which she had prime minister there, might with rescued him. That the practice was some reason be thought a pretty abandoned—that but few were de- liberal reward. Not many good stroyed- I think nearly certain, from deeds get better pay. the fact that there were 600,000 men 2. At the end of the famide, incontemporaries with Moses when stead of returning to Canaan, as they left Egypt, and that the num. might naturally have been ber of Israelites immediately after pected, the Hebrews continued leaving Egypt (Exod. xii. 27), to occupy the land of Goshen. compared with their number on en- Joseph never forgot that he was tering Egypt (Gen. xlvi. 27), only a Hebrew, or lost any just and about 215 years before, shews that proper opportunity of advancing they doubled, in less than every the interests of his own kindred. fifteen years—an unusual increase. While Egypt owed much to him in The above statement, I think, many respects, various things were proves that Egyptian slavery was so managed (perhaps accidentally) much milder than the slavery which that the Hebrews had decidedly has been often practised since, and the advantage, as to wealth, ease, is now practised by many who pro- and the means of improvement, fess Christianity.
over the Egyptians. The close of The following facts, drawn from the famine found the Egyptians the Hebrew records, will shew, I without money, flocks or herds, or think, that Pharaoh had what he even personal freedom (Gen. xlvii. probably thought 'good reasons for 12—26), and under an engageholding that people in bondage ;- ment to give Pharaoh one fifth part reasons which at least will bear of all their produce. On the other comparison with what pass for good hand, the Israelites were full handreasons now:
ed, had lost nothing, were in pos1. The Hebrews were received session of the best part of Egypt, into Egypt at a time of unexampled and had under their management scarcity, when like to perish ; and the cattle of Pharaoh (Gen. xlvii. were, with their flocks and herds, 6); and as all the cattle of the supported free of cost (Gen. xlv. Egyptians had come into Pharaoh's
hands, the Hebrews no doubt rea turn. They would have most likely ceived a good portion of Pharaoh's roved about on the borders of fifth, in payment for managing them Egypt, and made inroads for plunfor him. They had full employment, der. As to blending them with the of the very kind they preferred (Gen. Egyptians, and forming them to * xlvi. 33, 34): no wonder therefore the same manners and customs and they were willing to have remained religion, this was still more difficult where they were. Joseph continued than the other. Nothing is harder to direct the affairs of Egypt for about than to change the religion and seventy years after the famine ; and habits and prejudices of a people. we may well suppose, that, with Israel had now been in Egypt the advantages which the Hebrews above a bundred years. Joseph enjoyed over the Egyptians, they had married an Egyptian. Yet the must, as to comfort and wealth and original prejudices of both nations, improvement, have been greatly in as well as their religious principles, advance. This may not have been were nearly, if not fully, as much much noticed at first ; but it could at variance as at the first. (Gen. not but excite notice at the time of xlii. 32; Exod. vüi. 26.) Scarcely Joseph's death, or soon afterwards. any inter-marriages took place; and A king that ascended the throne, as to religion, the one was an aboafter the death of Joseph, saw how mination to the other. To think of things were proceeding, and had as force, was idle. Their prejudices, much zeal about the interests of his religion, as well as their comEgyptian kindred, as Joseph had plexion, (the Egyptians were Afrifor his Hebrew. The case was, cans, black; the Hebrews, from however, one of peculiar difficulty. Mesopotamia, fair,) made the thing Things had gone on so long, that it hopeless. To expect Pharaoh to was not easy to make a change; sit down and contemplate a proyet many things might naturally gress of things that tended directly, have led Pharaoh to think a change as he might naturally suppose, to a absolutely necessary. Judging struggle, and threatened the loss of from the Hebrew records, I think his throne, and the slavery of his it likely that Pharaoh saw, or people, is to expect more than was thought he did, that one of three likely. The only alternative, Phaor four things must take place. raoh might easily suppose, was to Either, 1. he must expel the He- prevent this, by adopting a new brews; or, 2. he must amalgamate policy towards that people. He them with the Egyptians, so as to might easily persuade himself, that form a promiscuous people; or, 3. it was but fair that Israel should see his own people made slaves in make some return for all they had their own country by the Hebrews; received for above one hundred or, 4. prevent that by making slaves years. He may have thought he of them.
was justified in gradually employing To accomplish the first, might the Hebrews in building cities and have been no easy matter. It in field labour; while he raised the would in all probability have led to military character of the Egypwar. The Hebrews' would have tians, and made such preparations most likely called in the aid of the as would enable him to suppress Edomites, or some other of their any opposition to his plans. kin, and the ruin of Egypt might The conduct of Israel to the have followed ; or if effected, where Shechemites (Gen. xxxiv. 25could the Hebrews have gone? 27), and their late attempt to They had been absent from Canaan plunder the inhabitants of Gath about one hundred years; and there (1 Chron. vii. 20—23), might make was little probability that the Ca- him feel justified in providing naanites would allow them to re- against similar treatment. If this CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 310.